The number of times I have warned people about the dangers of Internet shopping, I go and get caught myself. I’m forever saying that ‘…if it looks to good to be true, then it is…’ I can’t remember how many times I have told family and friends that the cheapest is not the best option as ‘…it’s usually cheap for a reason…’ That and advising people to look at the reviews and feedback, and then I go and ignore it all.
It was basically down to greed at the end of the day. I need a new, cordless hammer drill. The one I have is a cheapish one and I bought it about three years ago. The battery pack has started to lose it’s charge very quickly even if not in use. I can put it on charge one day and the charge will be lost without even using the thing. So when I had to use my corded drill to complete a simple job, I thought it was time to get an updated one. I did the usual trawl of the internet (or should I say eBay) to get the best price for what I wanted, and my results were coming up at between £35.00 and £50.00. So you can imagine my surprise when one showed up at £41.99 with ‘free’ accessory pack. What I wanted at the price I was willing to pay! Without any further research, I went through my cash-back site and purchased it, via PayPal.
It was a few hours later that I got an email from eBay advising me that “Your recent eBay transaction may be from a compromised account”. It also went on to explain, that “The item has been removed from the site, and the transaction was cancelled“. I checked my bank account, and of course the payment had gone through to PayPal. I then checked PayPal and found that the payment to the seller was pending. I quickly cancelled the payment and PayPal showed that my back account will be re-credited with the amount. There was a small caveat though, PayPal said it could take up to 30 days for the transaction to credit.
After wiping the egg off my face, I realised that this kind of thing can happen to anyone. I just took my eye off the ball and was caught. Massive lesson learned here.
I partake in a number of internet surveys. I do it for gain, not for “A chance to influence …”No, sheer monetary gain or for points/credits that I can convert into money or goods that I want/like. I subscribe to around four or five survey sites, but the most profitable ones are YouGov and Maximiles. YouGov gives you points in the range of 25 to 100 depending on the length of the survey, and once you hit 5000 you can redeem the sum of £50.00. Maximiles has the more usual approach of giving you points for every completed survey.
The main difference between YouGov and Maximiles is that you are never screened out of a YouGov survey. If you get an invite for a YouGov survey, you will get the points. It not always the case with Maximiles and recently they seem to be having an issue the closing out of completed survey. They say they are working on a fix, but it does seem to be taking a long time.
To date. I have had £100.00 from YouGov and a £28.00 bottle of Hendricks Gin from Maximiles. So bad for 20 or so minutes two or three times a week.
I also subscribe to Panel Opinion, GlobalTestMarket and panelbase.net but these tend to be more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ when it comes to eligible surveys, so I tend not to bother with them too much.
A bit of an update on yesterdays ‘scary’ moment post. I noticed, this morning, a news item on my WordPress dashboard, advertising a WordPress event in Leeds. It would seem that there is a local WP group that meets up quite regularly. It is not likely that I would attend, but I thought it would be good to find out a little more, as I had no idea that this kind of thing existed in the UK.
So to get at the main details etc, I had to join up with an organisation called ‘meetup.com’. Sounded reasonable, so I went ahead and started to fill in the required email, username and password. I scrolled to the bottom of the screen, looking for the ‘next’ button when I spotted one of those Google location markers. To my surprise my location was described as “Huddersfield”. The Google alert claimed that the login attempt was from a PC in the Huddersfield area. A bit of a coincidence!
Now, here’s what I think has happened. The bathroom fitters had to turn off the electric for a while, which of course turned off the internet router. When the power was restored my PC tried to log me back into my Google account, and it failed a couple of times. When It did finally log me in, I then got the notification of the ‘Account Alert’ So it seems (don’t quote me on this) that the perceived hacking attempt, was actually me. Somehow, something was indicating the my laptop was in Huddersfield. Very bizarre indeed as it has never been to Huddersfield.
At the end of the day, I was probably safe, but it did shake me up a little and made more determined to review my password management.
For a few months now, I have had a problem with my calendar. My primary email account is a Gmail account, and the application that use to read and write my email is Outlook 2016. Here was the problem! Outlook has its own calendar, but I can only see that calendar on my laptop as that is where the data is saved. My tablet and phone cannot pick up that calendar, but can see my Google calendar. So, my work around was to have an application that synchronised both calendars. After much ‘Googling’ I such an application and it was successfully installed. It ran without issues for a good few weeks, but then I noticed that although it said it was synchronising, it wasn’t happening. It was assumed by the software company that produced it, that the latest Windows update was causing a problem. There was no apology or offer to investigate it was just ‘A Windows 10 issue’ and was left at that.
Much more Googling and expressive language followed, before I found the next answer …add my Google calendar as an Internet Calendar in Outlook and use that one only. Brilliant …and so easy to do. Job done and me now a happy man. But wait a minute, I don’t seem to be able to delete an entry from that calendar. What is going on? It seems that the Google calendar is read only in Outlook. I’m now beginning to lose it a little bit. More searching and another application is found. This one seems to work. It synchronises every hour, I would prefer every 15 minutes but can live with the hour restriction. Back to the ‘happy man’ status again. I then notice, that my Outlook calendar is showing duplicated entries! My language is getting worse. I looked at some of the help forum and it explains that this is one of the issues and the only way around, is to delete all entries from both calendars and re-enter them in one calendar only. Not going to happen. I have now consigned that application to the recycle bin along with the others.
So I’m now left with the only option I appear to have. I use the Google calendar and have it as a read only calendar when I’m using Outlook. Not ideal, but seems to be the only thing I can do.
Let me get something out of the way. The title of this post is not a case of self deprecation. No, I’m talking about the world and how is connected by the internet.
A bit of background here. I was doing a search on eBay, for something I wanted to buy. I was not having much luck so I thought I would widen the search to pick up other online stores. I add my criteria into a web-search optimiser that I’m beta-testing and clicked on the ‘Go’ button. The search optimiser is similar to Windows 10 Cortana, and uses all the available search engines such as Bing, Google etc to maximise the search area. Anyway back to the main story. It only took a few seconds before the results were starting to show and some of them were not what I was expecting at all. I found the item I wanted and have ordered it, but that is not what is interesting here. There was about twenty or so links on each results page and I think it was on page four that the “interesting” thing happened I was reading the link descriptions when I spotted a name of a person I thought I knew from school. The link was to a Facebook(FB) page. I don’t click on FB links as they are often not genuine so I opened FB on my tablet and enter the persons name. When FB opened I was amazed at the face that was staring back at me. Apart from a few grey hairs and the odd forehead line, the person was exactly how I was sure I remembered them. I ‘ummed’ and ‘arrghed’ for a couple of days before biting the bullet last night and sending them a message. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in contact after all these years as I’ve not had a lot of luck with friends from my past. Within a couple of minutes the message was replied to and it was who I thought it was. We messaged back and forth for a good half hour talking about each other and the past, and are now friends on FB.
Now I come to the “Small and strange” part. I had a look through their photo’s and friends list (as you do) and was amazed that (bear with me here) some their friends had friends who were friends of mine! Not just FB friends, but actual real friends. I can never get my head around the fact that a local (real) friend is a friend of a friends friend, if that makes sense. It’s a bit like when I discovered that the son of my manager when I was at work, supports by youngest son with one of his activities. Really does make the world feel “Small and strange…”
I seem to recall giving this a try some time ago. I must have had some issues with it (or maybe it had issues with me!) because I think I would have posted more this way. There has been the occasion when I have not had access to the internet. An email post via my smartphone would have solved the problem.
Anyway, this is just a test, so …
TEST TEST TESTING TESTING TEST TEST TESTING TESTING
I’m pretty keen, when it comes to my online security and tend to delete any emails that offer any type of security/antivirus service, often without even reading them. On this occasion though, I thought I would share it with you, as a number of people I know have received this email and at least one of them has been fooled and responded to it. I have copied the text below (all links have been removed).
Dear Sir or Madame
We at VirtureScan are an industry renowned internet security company. We have been contacted by your Government as your ISP is alarmed at the volume of emails originating from your computer’s IP address. We have scanned some of these emails using our VitrureScan software and believe your computer has been contaminated with the Zeta321 virus. Currently there is no current AV software that is able to detect this virus. However we at VirtureScan have developed an online scanner that is able to hunt down this and remove it from your equipment.
There is a charge for this service, and the cost will be automatically deducted from your Paypal account. We understand that your ISP are willing to re-imbuse you for your cost.
We are currently offering a large discount of 68%, if you undertake the service by the end of today. After this the charge will reverse back to its original charge of $360.00.
If you our a responsible person, then you will take up this offer now. Click on the likn below to be taken to our site.
As you can see, there are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, and this type of thing should ring alarm bells. The link takes you to a website which I understand automatically installs a key logger type of virus. These capture every word you type and are used by hackers to break into any online banking you have. The name of the company changes often so it may not be the same if you receive the email. Just be aware.